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Speeches and Floor Statements

Paul Ryan discusses pro-growth tax reforms and paying down our debt

Your Talk Show, 1230 WCLO

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March 26, 2012 | comments


The Critical Importance of Paying off Our Debt & Growing Our Economy:

It’s a Path to Prosperity--which means it gets our budget on a path to balance and our debt paid off. It takes time to do that, but the key critical point here is—we know a debt crisis is coming in America just like Europe has right now. So we have a moral obligation to prevent that from happening. The sooner we act, the better off everyone is going to be and the more gradual and phased the reforms are.

For instance, we repealed the President’s board of 15 unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats who starting this year would be put in charge of Medicare and would put price controls on Medicare and that would lead to denied access for seniors.

We get rid of that and say current seniors and seniors near retirement—your Medicare stays the same—it’s not going to change. But in order to afford that; in order to keep that promise, because it’s going bankrupt, you need to reform it for the next generation for people who are 54 and below.

The way in which we propose to reform it is with a reform plan that has bipartisan support in Congress—that says you can have a list of coverage options, including traditional Medicare, to choose from just like Members of Congress have for their health insurance. Then Medicare will subsidize your premiums based on who you are. More for middle and low income people, more for people that are sick and less for wealthy people. That is how you save and strengthen the Medicare program and prevent it from going bankrupt and bankrupting the country.

We also proposed a whole series of other reforms that when taken together cut 5.3 trillion dollars out of the President’s budget over the next decade. We also proposed to reform the tax code by cleaning up all the special interest loopholes and tax breaks—which disproportionally go to higher income individuals—and in exchange we lower everyone’s tax rates. So it will be a flatter, simpler, more competitive tax system; one that gives small businesses, which create most of our jobs, more predictability and more certainty and a better tax code so they can compete with overseas competition. 

We believe by doing all of these things—it will get our economy growing. Lot’s of economists are telling us this is the smart way to go. This is how you get jobs created. This is how you get the debt paid off. This is how you get America in the position to prevent a debt crisis from happening. If we wait, if we stay on the path we are on and follow the President’s budget path which shows a huge explosion in debt; net tax increases; even more spending, then we are going to have a debt crisis. Then people do get hurt if they are in retirement. Then people do get hurt who rely on government the most. That is what we want to avoid from happening.

Empower Seniors, Not Bureaucrats, in Medicare:

The President’s healthcare law changed Medicare as we know it. It puts a cap on Medicare. it puts a board of 15 people that he appoints who are in charge of determining what your doctor and hospital can and cannot give you – and that affects current seniors, so the program has already changed. Put it this way—this charge was the 2011 Politifact “Lie of the Year,” which is that non-partisan media watchdog group. What I would say is we need to be honest with people about the situation our country is facing. We need to be straight with people about the financial problems these programs, like Medicare, are running into.. We need to offer solutions to fix them so that people who organize their lives around the commitments their government made them—can be assured those commitments will be made. We have a government and this is happening all around the world, where both political parties have made a lot of empty promises to people and they are about to become broken promises.

If we act now to put in place the kind of smart, sensible and yes - bipartisan reforms - to fix these things, then we can make good on these promises. There is a bipartisan consensus on tax reform, on Medicare reform and we include that consensus in the budget. The problem is the President and his party leaders in Congress are not part of that consensus. They disagree with it. There are other Democrats who agree with us on this path to these kinds of ideas, and that is why we are putting this budget out there because we feel we owe the country a choice.

Cleaning Out the Tax Code so it’s More Competitive:

Almost all of the tax shelters in the code go to the top 1%. We are saying take away those tax shelters and take away those loopholes, because for every dollar that the 1% parks in those tax shelters—that dollar is taxed at zero. If you take away the tax shelter and lower everyone’s tax rates then that dollar is taxed so all of their income then becomes subject to taxation—w and you cannot hire a clever accountant to hide taxation or to shelter their income from taxation.

We are saying stop picking winners and losers in Washington; clear out all the different loopholes and special tax breaks that were put in the code so that everyone can have lower tax rates. Do not forget this: 9 out of 10 businesses in Wisconsin file their taxes as individuals; as small businesses who are sub-chapter S corporations. Two thirds of the net new jobs that were created in America come from these businesses. In Wisconsin, this is our job base. The President is proposing is that their top tax rate goes to 45% in January. Canada just lowered their top business tax rate to 15% this year. You can’t compete with other countries. We are taxing most of our businesses—that create all the jobs—at 45% and our competitors are at 25% or 15% or 12% in Ireland’s case. So we are saying—top that tax rate at 25% but in exchange—get rid of the tax shelters so more of their income is subject to taxation.


What we are saying is we can raise the same amount of money for the government and just do it a smarter way. Get government out of picking winners and losers and give businesses certainty and more importantly - stop raising our tax rates so much to get more revenue in because it kills the small businesses who need to compete in order to hire people. That is the goose that lays the golden egg, so successful small businesses that are out in our industrial parks—where most of our jobs come from - if we hit them with this massive tax rate increase that the President is planning in January, it is going to hurt job creation and we want to prevent that from happening.

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